The polling for the 17th Lok Sabha election had ended yesterday with the end of the 7th phase of elections. The elections have witnessed a voter turnout of 67.37% for voting in the 542 parliamentary constituencies. These Lok Sabha elections have seen extreme public involvement, with the citizens discussing every move made by the political parties. Moreover, media, both national and international have been extremely active in covering political developments. Now the media organizations have released exit poles, gauging public mood with regards to which party is favoured.
The much-informed public has conveyed their mood through the exit polls, regarding their preferred parties. In all the exit poles conducted, BJP led NDA has emerged victorious, sweeping the elections with a thumping majority. The poll of exit polls by NDTV gave 302 seats to BJP led NDA, 122 to Congress-led UPA, and 119 seats to others.
In the seat distributions, almost all the major parties, regional or otherwise, have got a share. The congress alone is expected to get 70-80 seats, TMC is getting around 25 seats and the mahagathbandhan alliance of SP-BSP is getting around 20 seats. Moreover, the South regional players such as TRS, TDP and YSRCP; all have seat shares, however marginal. The only 2 elements missing from the scene are Aam Aadmi party and the left parties.
AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal has been appealing to the people of Delhi, promising them all sort of lollipops, such as a full statehood, increase in the number of colleges, increase in Delhi reservation, amongst others. He got in star campaigners such as Swara Bhaskar and fielded candidates like Atishi Marlena, who first brought in casteism and then theatrics in the Delhi politics. So confident was Arvind Kejriwal after his performance in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha that he even refused an alliance with Congress, after extensively begging them for the same, unless the party devised a seat-sharing system in Punjab and Haryana as well. The fact that Kejriwal didn’t understand his lack of popularity in any non-Delhi Indian state and threw a fuss to be given Congress seats in other states, was quite hilarious. Now, the Arvind Kejriwal led party has failed to receive even a single seat in Delhi in any of the exit polls; and neither has it received any in Haryana, his apparent strongholds. In Punjab, India Today Axis and Today’s Chanakya have given one seat to AAP, in most favourable circumstances. Punjab is the same state from which AAP had won 4 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The fact that AAP has become completely irrelevant in the run-up for the elections has become crystal clear with the exit polls.
Speaking of irrelevant parties, the left parties cannot go unmentioned. West Bengal- their once upon a time glory, has ousted them completely this time. The left had originally ruled over Bengal, for over 34 years. Back in 2004, the left parties got as much as 35 seats out of the 42 seats in the state. 5 years down the line, people’s dissatisfaction was evident with the left getting 16 seats and further down, in 2014, they were reduced to 2 seats. This time around, if the exit polls are to be believed, it seems the left parties will be completely wiped off. Out of all the exit polls, only Times Now VMR has given them a seat, that too in the best circumstances. The rest of the exit polls have failed to even mention them.
Not only in West Bengal, the left parties’ condition all over India is quite pitiable. The left parties were envisaging Bihar to be their new stronghold, with the star candidate Kanhaiya Kumar contesting from Begusarai. Even though the mahagathbandhan hadn’t worked out, the left was sure that Kumar’s candidature would reap electoral benefits. With this in mind, Kanhaiya Kumar had campaigned extensively in the constituency, enlisting the help of left leaning students. Unfortunately for them, the exit polls convey a completely different story. Kanhaiya Kumar it seems is not as popular as he had envisaged himself to be, as none of the exit polls have predicted even a single seat going to the party. Not only did they royally fail to make a mark on Bihar as a state overall; but also, even their star candidate Kanhaiya Kumar isn’t getting a seat in the elections, if the exit polls are to be believed.
Even in Kerala, their traditional stronghold, the Left Democratic Front is projected to get around 3-5 seats, in a best-case scenario; a substantial downfall from the 8 seats they had won previously in 2014.
Though the exit polls are the most direct way to gauge the public attitude towards the political parties, they must be taken with a pinch of salt. The accurate results will be known on the 23rd of this month. Until then, it can safely be assumed that the left and AAP has been rendered completely irrelevant by the public.